Thursday, 27 February 2020

Fatphobia On The Campaign Trail

ATTHED~1I was watching the South Carolina Democratic Debate and couldn’t help but notice that the moderator decided to bring up the so-called “obesity epidemic,” asking Bloomberg if he was planning to address it as he had in NYC. He backed away from his ridiculous actions in NYC (“what’s good for New York City may not be good for the country” blah blah blah) but then enthusiastically backed the idea of eradicating fat people. Joe Biden jumped right on board.

This is a common theme among politicians in all parties – using fat people to gain political points. It seems to go like this – the politician wants to do something that scores them points and avoids having to spin a possible downside. Since the country is already whipped up into a fat hating frenzy, they just go after fat people with some random untested policy that promises to rid the world of us whether we like it or not. Luckily for them the diet industry has spent years convincing people (including fat people) that we should not be trusted to tell our own stories, so this works out great for them.

As a reminder, Bloomberg was celebrated for supporting a ridiculous law based on beyond shoddy evidence saying that people in restaurants can’t buy sugary drinks more than 16 ounces.  No word on how much ice has to be in the drink and of course people can add as much sugar to their giant coffee or tea as they want, and it doesn’t affect convenience stores so you can go across the street from the restaurant to a 7-11 and buy a quintuple big gulp 2-gallon barrel of  Mountain Dew (and I’m not shaming you if you do it, I’m a writer – I’ve been there).  It apparently doesn’t matter that there is not strong evidence that the ban will do anything for health outcomes of anybody, or do anything other than cause restaurants to pay for an extra cup and straw for people to buy 2 drinks putting more garbage into circulation. But what the hell, he gets to say that he is “doing something about obesity.”   To show how foolproof this is, Mayor  Bloomberg announced the initiative on the same day that he went around celebrating…wait for it… Donut Day. So he spent half the day saying that businesses should be limited in the size of drinks that they can serve because of big bad fatties, and the other half of the day getting photographed eating donuts.  And people still cheer his “hardline stance” on “ob*sity.” Nice spin if you can get it.

As the campaign season goes on, fat people will continue to be reminded that candidates will be cheered for making campaign promises that they will commit tons of time, energy, and money (including our own tax dollars) in an effort to eradicate us from the earth.

Fat people are people, we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and that includes not being used to score cheap political points. Let’s put an end to hunting season on fat people, and let’s do it now.

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